Mireia Belmonte wins 200m butterfly as U.S. extends drought (video)

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Spain’s Mireia Belmonte backed up her Olympic title with world gold in the 200m butterfly, which continues to be a rare weak event for the U.S.

Belmonte, 26, won in 2:05.26, holding off German Franziska Hentke by .13 with Hungarian superstar Katinka Hosszu grabbing bronze.

The race lacked not only the Nos. 2, 3 and 4 finishers from Rio but also both Americans who were eliminated in the semifinals. It’s the first event this week without an American in the final.

The U.S. last earned a women’s 200m fly title at worlds in 1991 (Summer Sanders). Its 26-year drought is the longest of any male or female event.

Similiarly, the U.S. has earned zero Olympic medals in the 200m fly since Misty Hyman‘s shock gold at Sydney 2000. Americans made the podium in all other Olympic pool events in either London or Rio, and most at both Games.

Belmonte earned her first world title after two silvers and a bronze in 2013 and a 1500m free silver to Katie Ledecky earlier this week.

Hentke is Germany’s first female individual Olympic or world medalist since Britta Steffen in 2009.

Hosszu picked up her 11th career individual world medal, breaking her tie with Russian Yulia Efimova for the female record.

Women’s 200m Butterfly Results
Gold: Mireia Belmonte (ESP) — 2:05.26

Silver: Franziska Hentke (GER) — 2:05.39
Bronze: Katinka Hosszu (HUN) — 2:06.02
4. Ahn Sehyeon (KOR) — 2:06.67
5. Zhang Yufei (CHN) — 2:07.06
6. Suzuka Hasegawa (JPN) — 2:07.43
7. Liliana Szilagyi (HUN) — 2:07.58
8. Zhou Yilin (CHN) — 2:07.67

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U.S. Olympic 3×3 basketball qualifying teams named with former NBA player, WNBA stars

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Former NBA player Robbie Hummel and WNBA stars lead U.S. Olympic qualifying teams in the new Olympic event of 3×3 basketball.

The four-man and four-woman teams will compete in a global qualifier in India in March, each favored to grab one of three available Olympic berths per gender for the U.S.

Hummel, who unretired to become world champion in 3×3, is joined on the U.S. Olympic men’s qualifying team by Team Princeton teammates Canyon Barry and Kareem Maddox, plus Dominique Jones, who has played with Team Harlem. Team Princeton is guided by an investment firm CEO who once beat Michael Jordan one-on-one.

Last year, Hummel, Maddox and Barry (one of Rick Barry‘s sons) were part of a team that won the world title.

The U.S. women’s 3×3 qualifying roster is made up of WNBA stars Napheesa Collier, Stefanie DolsonAllisha Gray and Kelsey Plum. The U.S.’ top-ranked 3×3 player, as of last month, is Oregon star Sabrina Ionescu, who can’t play internationally this spring as she is in the thick of the NCAA season.

Olympic teams will not necessarily be made up of players from the qualifying tournament.

If the U.S. qualifies for Tokyo, it will then choose its roster(s) in a similar fashion to its traditional basketball teams — via selection committee. It’s unlikely active NBA players will be eligible.

Like with the qualifying tournament, two of the four Olympic players must be ranked in the top 10 among Americans in FIBA 3×3 rankings (as of a May 22 cutoff).

In 3×3, games last 10 minutes, or until one team reaches 21 points. Games are played on a half-court with a 12-second shot clock, and offense immediately turns to defense after a team scores.

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First U.S. sailors qualify for Olympics; gold medalist misses on tiebreak

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The first five members of the U.S. Olympic sailing team were finalized this past weekend. The last American sailor to win an Olympic title missed on a tiebreaker.

Stephanie Roble and Maggie Shea (49er FX), Anna Weis and Riley Gibbs (Nacra 17) and Charlie Buckingham (Laser) qualified after world championships competition concluded in Australia. The U.S. Olympic roster across all sports is now at 43 qualified athletes.

The closest race for a U.S. Olympic spot came in 49er FX. Roble and Shea edged Paris Henken and 2008 Olympic champion Anna Tobias on a tiebreak. Roble and Shea, both first-time Olympic qualifiers, won Saturday’s medal race and earned an overall bronze medal.

That put the two U.S. duos in a tie in Olympic qualifying — combining placements from the 2019 and 2020 Championships, according to TeamUSA.org. The tiebreak went to Roble and Shea for having the better finish at this year’s worlds.

Tobias, a 37-year-old who won the individual 2008 Olympic Laser Radial as Anna Tunnicliffe, came out of retirement in a bid for a third Olympics. She left competitive sailing in 2014, took up CrossFit competitions and returned to crew for Henken more than two years ago.

“We are very sad and upset,” was posted on Tobias’ Instagram, “but we wish them [Roble and Shea] the best of luck.”

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